Today we are going to learn how to connect to POP e-mail server using Telnet protocol. First some basics and definitions. Post Office Protocol (POP) is a protocol that is used by local e-mail clients to retrieve mail from a server through a TCP/IP connection. It can be automatically used by your mail client, but sometimes we need to do it manually. This is an instruction on how to connect to mail server and retrieve e-mails using POP protocol.

First we will need a command line protocol. Personally I would advice Putty. It is free, simple and lightweight. Some may prefer to use Command Line application that is built in Microsoft Windows, but Putty may be a better choice in a long run, if you prefer to use it later for some other purposes. Connection to a mail server is done using Telnet (Teletype Network), which is a network protocol used to provide an interactive communications facility.

Things You Will Need

- Putty (free);

- knowledge about your POP mail server and its active port (usually 110, but there may be exclusions);

- username and password of the e-mail account on that server.

Step 1


telnet pop.domain.tld 110

where telnet is an indication for Putty that you use telnet protocol, pop.domain.tld is a domain name of your pop mail server and 110 is a standard POP port. It should be noted that if you Internet service provider redirects mail.domail.tld, smtp.domail.tld, pop.domail.tld and imap.domail.tld to the same IP, you should be able to use any of these domains for logging in to the mail server as long as you state the correct port (in this case 110).

If everything is correct you will see:

telnet pop.domain.tld 110


Connected to pop.domain.tld.

Escape character is '^]'.

+OK POP3 Bigfoot v1.0 server ready

Step 2

Then type:

user username@domain.tld

press [Enter] and type:

pass [password]

By now you should see the following:

user username@domain.tld

+OK username@domain.tld selected

pass [password]

+OK Congratulations!

The server congratulates you on an excellent job of connecting to it. But what can you do now. POP protocol offers few commands and they are:

STAT - for getting number of e-mails in your inbox and their total volume in bytes. Type


and you will see:


+OK 3 121487

This means that I have 3 messages in my inbox and their total volume is 121487 bytes.

LIST - returns you size of every particular e-mail. The syntax is also very simple:


+OK 3 messages (121487 octets)

1 563

2 93867

3 27057


This means that my mail #1 is 563 bytes large, #2 - 93867 bytes and #3 - 27057 bytes.

RETR - allows you to retrieve your e-mails.

retr 1

+OK 563 octets

X-Spam-Flag: NO

X-Envelope-From: username1@domain.tld

Return-Path: @domain.tld>

Received: from mailserver.tld ([XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX])

by (8.13.6/8.13.1) with SMTP id nBHEZnNA025522

for username@domain.tld; Thu, 17 Dec 2009 09:38:32 -0500

Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2009 09:35:49 -0500

From: username1@domain.tld


To: undisclosed-recipients:;

X-Antivirus: Scanned by F-Prot Antivirus (



By this command I have retrieved my first message. The most important parts of the message are:

X-Envelope-From: username1@domain.tld

this means that the message was enveloped by username1@domain.tld, it should be the same as

From: username1@domain.tld


The second most important is, of course, the text of the message. But here we have only a test.

DELE N - marks message number N for deletion (it will be deleted only upon issue of the EXIT command).

dele 1

+OK Message 1 deleted

RSET - unmarks all messages from deletion.


+OK 3 messages (121487 octets)

QUIT - guess what it does ;-)


+OK Bye!

Connection closed by foreign host.

That is basically all that one should know to pretend to be a mail client connecting to a POP server.

See you and have lots of fun!

Tips & Warnings

Brush your teeth everyday day ;)